Canada's Job Market Stuck in Neutral, Auto Union President Says

July 8, 2011, 12:37 PM EST

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"Canada's job market is still stuck in neutral. It is high time the federal government acknowledge and address this fact," said CAW President Ken Lewenza in response to today's Labour Force Survey release.

Lewenza challenged the rosy labour market picture portrayed by Statistics Canada noting that the good news story of 28,400 new net jobs in the month of June is overshadowed by the fact that growth was found mostly in part-time work. Part-time work accounted for a whopping 74 per cent of new job growth last month.

Lewenza noted the overall number of unemployed actually grew by over 13,000 since May. He also noted that rising unemployment for Canadians under 25 years of age (14.3 per cent, up from 13.9 per cent the month prior) is a troubling sign that good jobs simply aren't available for one of the country's most vulnerable populations.

"Despite the Harper government's assurances that our economy is on the right track, we continue to see little hard evidence," Lewenza said, arguing that the overall quality of work is declining for the majority of Canadians - a measure that's not considered in the monthly Labour Force Survey report.

"Canadians are feeling the pinch because of declining real wages, they're finding it harder to secure a good job that offers stability and useful skill-building opportunities, and they're feeling pressure in dealing with an increasingly insecure retirement," Lewenza said. "That's what Canadian workers are saying. In my opinion, that's the more accurate read of what's going on in our economy."

Lewenza said the Harper government's plan to slash and burn Canada's public service will have a damaging effect on employment, which could have a negative effect on overall wages and hurt consumer spending.

The looming job losses in the public sector should worry everyone, Lewenza stressed.

"Reversing this wrong-headed decision would be a positive first step in strengthening the national job market and moving it forward."

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